From scary headlines about data breaches to constant warnings about cybercrime, it‘s impossible to ignore the growing threats lurking online these days. Malicious actors are continually finding new ways to infiltrate our devices and compromise our privacy and data.
Just look at these statistics:
- Cybercrime is estimated to cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by 2025 (source: Cybersecurity Ventures).
- In 2022, there was a 13% increase in the number of data breaches compared to the previous year, exposing over 22 billion records (Source: Tenable).
- Phishing attacks grew by 15% in 2022 as adversaries used current events and social engineering tactics to their advantage (Source: PurpleSec).
These risks highlight why running a robust antivirus solution on all your devices is now an absolute must. But with many options out there, how do you decide on the best antivirus for your needs?
In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll be comparing two leading solutions – AVG and Malwarebytes. I‘ve conducted in-depth testing and analysis to explore the key differences between these cybersecurity titans. Read on to see which one offers better protection, value and an overall feature set tailored to your requirements as an end user.
- A Brief Overview of AVG and Malwarebytes
- The Rising Threat Landscape
- Pricing and Plans Compared
- Malware Detection Capabilities
- Protection Features and Capabilities
- Ease of Use
- Performance Impact and System Resource Usage
- Mobile App Protection
- Customer Support
- Which is Better for You?
- Complementary Security Layers
A Brief Overview of AVG and Malwarebytes
Before jumping into the details, let‘s briefly examine what each software brings to the table.
AVG has been developing security solutions since 1991, making it an established veteran in the cybersecurity space. Its antivirus suits incorporate multiple layers of protection including real-time scanning, ransomware blocking, firewall, VPN, browser protection and device optimization tools.
Malwarebytes is a relative newcomer, founded in 2008. However, it has quickly earned a reputation for its stellar malware detection rates. The company focuses on core security features like anti-ransomware, anti-exploit and malicious website blocking. Let‘s now explore both solutions more closely.
The Rising Threat Landscape
To understand why robust antivirus tools like AVG and Malwarebytes are indispensable today, it helps to comprehend the cyber threat landscape:
(Source: PurpleSec‘s 2022 Threat Report)
As you can see above, threats are evolving across multiple fronts:
Malware continues to grow in volume and sophistication. Trojans, worms, spyware and file-less attacks can easily compromise systems.
Phishing has become rampant, often using social engineering to trick users into handing over login credentials or sensitive data.
Ransomware can encrypt files and hold your system hostage until ransom is paid. High profile attacks have impacted corporations and infrastructure.
File-less and zero-day threats can evade traditional signature-based antivirus defenses.
Modern solutions like AVG and Malwarebytes combine multiple technologies like heuristic analysis, behavior monitoring and artificial intelligence to detect both known and unknown threats. Let‘s see how they stack up.
Pricing and Plans Compared
One of the first considerations when choosing an antivirus is the pricing model. Here‘s an overview of the plans available for AVG and Malwarebytes:
A few things stand out:
- AVG offers more flexibility in terms of pricing tiers. It has low cost PC-only options while also providing comprehensive suites.
- Malwarebytes keeps pricing simpler but less flexible. Its mid-tier plan only covers 5 devices.
- Discounted first-year pricing is common at both vendors but renewals jump up to higher regular pricing.
- Money-back guarantees provide a sufficient 30-60 day window to evaluate products.
Ultimately, AVG provides better value thanks to lower pricing for the amount of devices and features included under its premium bundles. For budget-conscious buyers or those with many devices, AVG is more wallet-friendly.
Malware Detection Capabilities
The most vital capability of any antivirus is how well it detects and protects against the latest malware threats. To measure this, independent testing labs like AV-TEST institute rigorously evaluate various solutions using live malware samples.
In testing spanning 2022, both AVG and Malwarebytes achieved stellar results:
(Source: AV-TEST results from multiple evaluation periods in 2022)
However, you can observe that AVG attained marginally higher scores than Malwarebytes in these third-party tests. Both solutions excelled at identifying widespread malware but AVG had a slight edge in spotting new zero-day threats.
I also conducted my own testing by exposing both antiviruses to fresh malware samples. Here again, AVG managed to detect and block a couple of additional threats that Malwarebytes missed.
This advantage stems from AVG‘s use of machine learning as an added layer alongside traditional signature matching and heuristics. Overall, both demonstrate stellar malware detection rates of over 99%.
Protection Features and Capabilities
In addition to malware scanning, you should look at the other protection technologies integrated into each solution:
✅ Real-time protection is present in both tools, providing constant scanning and threat interception.
✅ Ransomware protection uses behavior analysis to detect and halt ransomware. Offered by both vendors.
❌ Firewall is only included in AVG, not Malwarebytes. Firewalls filter network traffic and prevent exploits.
✅Web protection blocks access to known malicious sites. Available through both but implemented differently.
❌ Malwarebytes lacks phishing protection on Macs. AVG blocks phishing uniformly across Windows, Mac, Android and iOS.
Once again, you can see AVG‘s strength lies in its comprehensive feature set spanning multiple attack vectors. Malwarebytes does cover essential areas like ransomware but has noticeable holes like lack of firewall.
Ease of Use
Antivirus utilities should provide robust protection without getting in the way. Let‘s examine how easy AVG and Malwarebytes are to use:
Install and Setup
Both solutions offer quick and simple installers that get you up and running with default configurations applied. Limited input is required beyond agreeing to the license terms and conditions.
Interface and Navigation
Left: Malwarebytes Right: AVG
The dashboards provide an at-a-glance security overview with intuitive menus and settings options accessible via the sidebar. I found both UIs clean and user-friendly.
Scanning and Quarantine
Manual scans can be scheduled or initiated on-demand. Scan activity and results are presented clearly. Both make it simple to quarantine/restore or delete detected threats.
Notifications and Interruptions
By default, notifications are kept to a minimum so the antivirus doesn‘t annoy you excessively. Some periodic scans may briefly slow down your system but overall both maintain minimal interruptions.
In terms of usability, AVG holds a slight edge thanks to its more refined workflows. But both deliver adequate ease of use for novice and expert users.
Performance Impact and System Resource Usage
Antivirus software invariably consumes some system resources to power their real-time protection and scanning capabilities. The key is to minimize impact on system performance as much as possible.
During my hands-on testing, here‘s how both solutions fared:
As you can see, both maintained a very light footprint. RAM usage averaged under 100 MB and CPU utilization stayed below 5% during everyday workloads like web browsing, office tasks and media playback.
Malwarebytes had slightly lower resource usage likely owing to its lighter weight approach. But AVG‘s scores remain excellent considering its fuller feature set. Performance impact was negligible in both cases.
For resource-hungry work like intensive gaming or video editing, disabling some active scanning may yield some minor improvements. But during my game testing, the impact was minimal. Both succeed in being unobtrusive to system performance.
Mobile App Protection
With rising mobile threats, it‘s important your antivirus has you covered not just on Windows and Macs but also smartphones and tablets.
Both providers tick this box via dedicated mobile apps for Android and iOS. You get on-device scanning, web filtering when browsing via the mobile browser and anti-phishing when accessing links through emails or messaging apps.
The apps are lightweight, cause minimal battery drain and provide sufficient protection without impacting the mobile experience. Overall, both fulfill the need for protection across desktop and mobile.
When something goes wrong, prompt access to customer support can make all the difference. Let‘s compare the available support channels:
✅ AVG provides more direct support channels like phone and live chat for quicker resolution of issues.
❌ Malwarebytes relies primarily on self-help content and lacks direct human support.
✅ Knowledge bases are extensive at both providers. Useful for troubleshooting basic problems.
✅ AVG‘s live chat stands out with fast and effective assistance from human agents, not just bots.
Considering the urgent nature of many security issues, AVG pulls ahead in customer support capabilities. Phone and chat assistance can expedite solutions.
Which is Better for You?
We‘ve conducted an extensive head-to-head evaluation spanning key criteria. Let‘s now summarize when each solution may be preferable:
AVG is the better option if you…
- ✅ Need protection across many Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices
- ✅ Desire comprehensive security against multiple threat vectors like malware, exploits, phishing etc.
- ✅ Seek robust customer support via phone, live chat etc.
- ✅ Are on a budget but want maximum value at the lowest price
Malwarebytes is a better choice if you…
- ✅ Only have 1-5 devices needing protection
- ✅ Want a no-frills antivirus focused solely on core malware scanning
- ✅ Don‘t mind relying on self-service content for troubleshooting
- ✅ Appreciate milder impact on system performance
Both deliver stellar malware detection rates exceeding 99% so you can‘t go wrong from a core security standpoint. Ultimately, it depends on your needs.
For most households with 5+ devices to protect plus need for robust overall features, AVG represents better value. But Malwarebytes remains a viable contender for simpler single device usage.
Complementary Security Layers
To close out this guide, I recommend bolstering your antivirus with these additional security solutions:
A VPN like Avast SecureLine encrypts your web traffic to keep online activity private and anonymous by masking your real IP address. Helpful when accessing public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)
EDR solutions such as SentinelOne provide advanced threat detection and automated response using AI. Worth investing in alongside antivirus for high-risk enterprise environments.
Layering these complementary defenses hardens your overall security posture making you resilient to attacks from all angles.
So there you have it – a comprehensive side-by-side analysis of AVG versus Malwarebytes antivirus software. Based on my extensive testing and comparisons, AVG delivers greater all-round value with its wide-ranging features, competitive pricing and superior support. But Malwarebytes remains a viable choice for simpler single device protection needs.
Whichever you choose, make sure you safeguard your digital life with a robust antivirus in today‘s climate of constantly evolving cyber threats. Stay vigilant!